Pre-Assembled Mach3 Breakout Control Instructions

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Thank you for purchasing our Mach3 control pack (and hopefully one of our machines)! Congratulations! Now, we will guide you step-by-step from opening your new purchase to machining your first project.

NOTE: Typically steps 1-16 are performed by Zen Toolworks and the control pack is tested prior to shipment. If this is the case for you, please start at step 17.


Table of Contents:

About this Product:
Product features
Control pack contents
Other required parts
Mach3 sample configuration file
Stepper motor driver DIP settings
Breakout board pin key
The final assembly
Assembling the Control Pack:
Step 1: Stripping the drivers' power wires and color key
Step 2: Connecting the drivers' power wires to the drivers
Step 3: Color key for connecting the drivers-to-breakout-board wires to the drivers
Step 4: Color key for connecting the drivers to the breakout board
Step 5: Connecting the drivers to the breakout board
Step 6: Attaching the breakout board to the plastic base
Step 7: Positioning the drivers onto the plastic base
Step 8: Fastening the drivers onto the plastic base
Step 9: Fastening the power supply unit (PSU) to the plastic base
Step 10: Color key for connecting the drivers' power wires to the PSU
Step 11: The power supply cord with extra ports
Step 12: The power supply cord with extra ports removed and stripped
Step 13: Threading the power supply cord through the plastic cord
Step 14: Connecting the power supply cord to the PSU
Step 15: Attaching the E-stop button to the plastic cord
Step 16: The correct PSU voltage setting
Connecting the Control Pack to the Machine:
Step 17: The grouped 6-wires and the lengths of 4-wires
Step 18: Stripping the 6-wires and the 4-wires
Step 19: Color key for soldering the 6-wires to the 4-wires
Step 20: Covering the soldered joints
Step 21: Color key for connecting the 4-wires to the drivers
Step 22: Connecting the drivers to the motors
Step 23: Connecting the control pack to a computer
Setting up the Mach3 Program:
Step 24: Starting up Mach3
Step 25: Selecting or creating a profile
Step 26: The Mach3 main page
Step 27: Opening the Ports and Pins window
Step 28: The Motor Output settings
Step 29: The Input Signals settings
Step 30: The E-stop settings
Step 31: The Output Signals settings


Product Features

  • Compatible with Mach3 and EMC2 control softwares
  • Supports up to 5 axis stepper motor drivers
  • Onboard spindle relay allows on/off spindle control through the Mach3 software
  • 5 input signal pins for homing, probing and E-stop/limit switches
  • Uses USB for signal processing 5V power supply
  • Parallel port communication between the driver board and desktop computer


Control Pack Contents
Your control pack should include the following parts:

  • 1 clear plastic base
  • 1 power supply unit (PSU)
  • 1 power supply cord
  • 1 emergency stop button
  • 1 Mach3 breakout board (brand: Songle)
  • 3 stepper motor drivers
  • 3 lengths of double wire (red and brown)
  • 3 sets of 4 separate wires (red, blue, green, black)
  • 10 larger white plastic bolts
  • 10 larger white plastic nuts
  • 6 white plastic spacers
  • 2 smaller white plastic bolts (or 2 3/32" metal hex bolts)
  • 1 smaller white plastic nut (or 1 metal nut)


Preassembled Mach3 Disassembled.jpg

These are the parts to the Mach3 control pack. (2 white plastic spacers, 2 smaller bolts, and 1 smaller nut not shown).


Other Required Parts

  • 1 printer parallel cable, male to female, 25 pins D-sub (DB-25)
    • This is for data transmission between your computer and control pack.
  • 1 USB cable, 5V, male to male
    • This is for powering your breakout board, either from your computer or some external power source.


Mach3 Sample Configuration File

You can downloard this file and put it in your Mach3 installation folder. Launch the Mach3 Loader and select this profile to load the default settings for using the breakout board. This is just a sample configuration to get you started, and may be modified. Please refer to Mach3 online documentation to adjust the settings as needed.

Sample Configuration file for Mach3[download]


Stepper Motor Driver DIP Settings
Decay Settings
OFF OFF 0% Decay mode (off)
OFF ON 25% Decay mode
ON OFF 50% Decay mode
ON ON 75% Decay mode
Microstep Settings
OFF OFF 1 Microstep setting, 200x1 = 200 steps per revolution
ON OFF 2 Microstep setting, 200x2 = 400 steps per revolution
ON ON 8 Microstep setting, 200x8 = 1600 steps per revolution (our default setting)
OFF ON 16 Microstep setting, 200x16 = 3200 steps per revolution
Current Settings
ON ON 0.6 A, not enough for our CNC kit
OFF ON 1.2 A, recommended for our 7x7 and 7x12 models, using NEMA 17 steppers
ON OFF 1.5 A, recommended for our 12x12 model, using NEMA 23 steppers
OFF OFF 2.5 A, use this setting only if you need extra torque. In most cases, check your assembly to see whether any alignment problems are causing the extra friction that's requiring more torque from the motors.
Ext./Int. Pulse
SW7 -


Breakout Board Pin Key
Pin No.
1 Enable
2 Motor 1 STEP
3 Motor 1 DIR
4 Motor 2 STEP
5 Motor 2 DIR
6 Motor 3 STEP
7 Motor 3 DIR
8 Motor 4 STEP
9 Motor 4 DIR
10 INPUT, can be used for E-stop and limit switches
11 INPUT, can be used for X-axis homing
12 INPUT, can be used for Y-axis homing
13 INPUT, can be used for Z-axis homing
14 INPUT, can be used for spindle on/off control
15 INPUT, can be used for probing
16 Motor 5 STEP
17 Motor 5 DIR


Preassembled Mach3 Assembled.jpg

This is the assembled Mach3 control pack.


Preassembled Mach3 Connected.jpg

This is an example of the Mach3 control pack connected to a CNC machine and a computer.

How to Assemble the Mach3 Control Pack


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 001.jpg

1. Separate each end of the double wires and strip about 1 cm. from each wire. The wires are colored such that the red wire is positive and the brown wire is negative.


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 002.jpg

2. Using a small flat-end screwdriver, connect a double wire to each of the three stepper motor drivers. The positive wire connects to the outer-most port, and the negative wire connects to the port next to it. When inserting stripped wires into their appropriate ports, insert them all the way so that there is no copper exposed.


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 003.jpg

3. Strip 1 cm. of insulation from each of the 3 sets of 4 separate wires. Connect each set of 4 wires to a stepper motor driver. The wires should be connected to the set of 6 ports on the driver as follows: black to the port closest to the LED light (-Pull), red to the port next to that (+Pull), blue to the port three away from the red (-DIR), and green to the last port in the set (+DIR).


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 004.jpg

4. Connect each set of 4 wires to the Mach3 breakout board. The set with shorter wire lengths should be connected to the ports on the breakout board labeled with a "C". This driver will now be responsible for moving the Z-axis motor. Wiring should be done as follows, from closest to the corner inward: blue to the second port, black to the third port, and both red and green in the last port.


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 005.jpg

5. Connect the last two drivers to the breakout board in the same way. The driver connected to the ports labeled "B" will move the Y-axis motor, and the driver connected to the ports labeled "A" will move the X-axis motor.


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 006.jpg

6. Attach the breakout board to the clear plastic base using 4 larger white plastic bolts, 4 white plastic spacers, and 4 larger white plastic nuts.


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 007.jpg

7. Position each driver between each set of two holes and thread the double wires through the plactic base.


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 008.jpg

8. Fasten the three drivers securely to the plastic base, using 2 larger white plastic bolts and 2 larger white plastic nuts for each driver.


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 009.jpg

9. Fasten the PSU to the plastic base using 2 smaller white plastic bolts (or metal hex bolts), 2 white plastic spacers, and 1 smaller white plastic nut (or metal nut).


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 010.jpg

10. Connect the red and brown double wires to the PSU. All the positive red wires go to the ports labeled +V, and the negative brown wires to the ports labeled -V. Which specific port (given four +V and four -V ports) taht each driver's wires go into does not matter.


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 011.jpg

11. The power cord will have a wall plug on one end and two extension ports on the other.


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 012.jpg

12. Cut the two ports off, separate the two wires a few inches, and strip off about a centimeter of the insulation from each wire.


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 013.jpg

13. Thread the stripped end of the power cord through the plastic base.


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 014.jpg

14. Attach the two power cord wires to the two AC ports on the PSU, one wire for each port.


Preassembled Mach3 setup 015.jpg

15. Attach the red emergency stop button to the keyhole on the plastic base. The main button slides in from the top after positioning the key correctly, and then the square metal ring and collar thread on from the bottom.


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 016.jpg
Preassembled Mach3 Setup 017.jpg

16. Check that your PSU is set to 115 V. (Use a small screwdriver to poke through the grate and flip the switch.) If set to 230 V, all green LEDs in the assembly will flicker when powered, and your setup will not function properly.

How to Connect the Mach3 Control Pack to the CNC Machine


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 018.jpg

17. Three grouped sets of 6-wires (left) and three long lengths of 4-wires (right) will be necessary to connect the Mach3 control pack to the three motors on the CNC machine. (You may cut this long length to fit your needs.)


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 019.jpg

18. Strip each end of the 4-wires, and also remove a few inches of the outer white insulation so that you can maneuver each wire separately. Also, strip the ends of the red, yellow, brown, and pink wires in the groups of 6-wires.


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 020.jpg

19. Now, you will need to do some slightly more dangerous work. Solder the set of 6-wires to the 4-wires. Remember to wear safety glasses and to clear your work area of possibly flammable materials.

Here are the following connections you’ll need to make. We will not be using the black and white wires on the 6-wire (motor) side.

Stepper Motor Ports


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 021.jpg

20. Cover the soldered joints with insulation. Here, we have added heat wrap to protect the joints.


Preassembled Arduino 023.jpg

21. Attach the other end of the 4-wires to the drivers. In this configuration, the green wire is attached to the B- port, red to B+, white to A-, and black to A+.


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 023.jpg

22. Connect the plug holding the 6-wires together into the port on the appropriate motor on the CNC machine.


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 024.jpg

23. To connect the control pack to a computer, you will need a 25 pin D-sub (DB-25) parallel cable and a double USB cord. Both the DB-25 cable and USB cord must be connected BEFORE plugging in the PSU cord to a power outlet.

IMPORTANT: To prevent damage to your control pack, the power must be OFF before connecting/disconnecting the breakout board to the computer.

How to Set Up the Mach3 Program


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 25.jpg

24. Start up Mach3.


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 26.jpg

25. If you have a profile already, you can select it here. Otherwise, you can create a new profile (with the settings in the following steps).


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 27.jpg

26. This is the main Mach3 page.


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 28.jpg

27. In the upper left hand corner, click the Config tab, and select Ports and Pins.


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 29.jpg

28. Select the Motor Outputs tab, and copy the above settings. Later on, if your motors move in the opposite direction, you can return to this page and click on the Dir LowActive check mark or x for the axis that is moving in the wrong direction.


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 30.jpg

29. Now select the Input Signals tab and verify that your settings match the ones in screenshot.


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 31.jpg

30. Scroll down until you see the E-stop signal and copy the above settings for it.


Preassembled Mach3 Setup 32.jpg

31. Finally, select the Output Signals tab and copy the above settings. Then you can click Apply and OK. Now you should have the proper settings for running Mach3.

About EStop (Mushroom button) Installation

We leave the E-Stop button not wired. You will have a few options to use E-Stop in your particular case.

Option One: Use EStop to cut off the main 12V DC power to all stepper driver board. In this case, you will need to add the E-Stop as a switch between the power supply unit 12V positive terminal and all stepper driver power input positive terminals. You will need some extra wires to make the connection easier.

Option Two: You can also use EStop as a button to give breakout board a estop signal. For example, you have pin 10 on the breakout board defined as estop in Mach3 config. You can put estop switch between breakout ground pin and Pin 10.

We will suggest using EStop switch to cut off the 12V DC power to drivers, so that it will for sure to stop any motor movement instantly.

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